When My Son Brought This Word Problem Home From School, I Thought It Would Be Easy, But I Was Wrong : AWM

When My Son Brought This Word Problem Home From School, I Thought It Would Be Easy, But I Was Wrong

It’s time for a challenging world puzzle that will leave everyone in your Facebook feed stumped. Just because it comes from a school does not mean it is going to be easy to get the correct answer. People love puzzles, especially those that are unsuspecting and surprising. This one is just that. You’ll think this is a math question when it really is an English question.

When you get the correct answer, you might think that it was evident from the beginning, but trust us, not everyone is getting this one quickly. Most people are struggling to answer this problem and get to the bottom of the correct answer. I sure was.

So, what’s the question? Here it is:

The Battle of English and Mathematics

Question: 1 rabbit saw 6 elephants while going to the river. Every elephant saw 2 monkeys going toward the river. Every monkey holds 1 parrot in their hands.

How many animals are going towards the river???

But the puzzle doesn’t stop with just the simple question. It also offers up a challenge writing: “Let’s see who went to school…”

With a challenge like that posted at the end, you’re going to want to get this one right to prove the quiz creator wrong.

Don’t worry, to make the question easier there was a multiple choice answer provided:

  1. 5
  2. 13
  3. 25
  4. 32

Did you do the “math” and figure out which answer is correct? Or did you just happen to know?

When I was first reading it, I questioned the question itself. If we are supposed to know how many animals are going toward the river, only the rabbit and elephant are confirmed as to be going toward the river. The monkeys and parrots never received that confirmation in the way the puzzle was worded. But that was the puzzle writers faux pas. You’re supposed to assume that all the animals are going toward the river.

I got 25 as my solution. I figured that if all the animals are going toward the river, as I supposed by the way the puzzle was written, one rabbit saw six elephants who each saw two monkeys carrying one parrot. That equals one plus six plus twelve plus six.

But that is not correct.

The correct answer if five. You can watch the video below for an explanation. Or just keep on reading.

When the one rabbit goes toward the river, it sees six elephants.  But the elephants are going away from the river. As they go away, the elephant (as a collective group) see two monkeys who each carry a parrot.

So the total animals going to the river includes one rabbit, two monkeys, and two parrots or five total.

The puzzle hinges on the tricky wording. If the person who wrote it had written it more clearly, more people would have been able to get it correct. However, the puzzle requires a thorough analysis to get to the bottom of what it wants you to do.

What answer did you get for the puzzle?